Venezuela Venezuela’s political opposition is at a critical crossroads, trying to win control of the National Assembly for the first time in Hugo Chavez’s 11-year presidency.
If the opposition wrests a majority away from allies of Chavez in Sunday’s elections, they could finally try to impose checks on the president’s expanding power. However, an opposition defeat would embolden Chavez to push ahead with transforming Venezuela into a socialist state.
Many Venezuelans expect a close race, but the odds appear to be stacked in Chavez’s favor.
Opposition candidates are campaigning with less funds and less television airtime than their pro-Chavez foes, and are often out shaking hands just as Chavez is on TV campaigning for members of his United Socialist Party of Venezuela — known as PSUV, its Spanish acronym. Some opposition candidates also fear that new rules and redrawn districts under an election law passed last year will add to their disadvantages.